Prince William offered warm words to the Jewish state, which he said is “inventing, creating, innovating, and striding confidently into its future.”
By: United with Israel Staff
Prince William praised Israel as a vibrant country that “thrives on innovation, diversity, talent, and excellence,” while lauding the close ties between the United Kingdom and the Jewish State.
Prince William, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and second-in-line to the throne, made history Monday when he became the first British royal to pay an official visit to Israel.
Addressing an event at the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening, the Duke of Cambridge began in Hebrew, wishing everyone “erev tov lekulam,” a good evening.
He referred to his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem earlier in the day, saying it was “a profoundly moving experience.”
“We must never forget what was perpetrated against the Jewish people in the Holocaust,” he stated.
Giving a seemingly Zionist speech, William admired Israel’s “remarkable story”, saying it “is partly one of remembering this terrible past but, also, looking forward to a much more hopeful future. There is – and I’ve seen it already – an essential vibrancy to this country.”
“From the early stories of the kibbutzim; to the revival of Hebrew as a living, modern language; to the hi-tech economies that we see around us here in Tel Aviv – the modern story of Israel is one of inventing, creating, innovating, and striding confidently into its future,” the prince said.
“I saw part of this future this afternoon when I met boys and girls from different communities, brought together by their love of football. And I got a flavor today of the unique character of Tel Aviv, its flair and diversity – and its beach. A beautiful city,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the Duke of Cambridge joined the Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai to meet volley balers, beach goers and the huge crowds that came to greet him on Tel Aviv’s Frishman Beach, and on Wednesday he met more young people from around the country, working on the environment, mental health and “helping the less fortunate,” as he put it.
Painting a Bright Future for Israel
“These young people are painting a bright future for Israel, bringing their own energy and creativity to the Start-Up Nation. These young people are also a reminder of how much we have in common – two open societies which thrive on innovation, diversity, talent and excellence,” he declared.
Extolling the ties between the two countries, William stated that they “have never been stronger, whether in our record levels of trade and investment, our cooperation in science and technology; or the work we do together to keep our people safe.”
Turning to regional peace, he noted that the Middle East has a “complicated and tragic history – in the past century the people of the Middle East have suffered great sadness and loss.”
“Never has hope and reconciliation been more needed. I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbors, for a just and lasting peace,” he said, pledging that the UK “stands with you, as we work together for a peaceful and prosperous future.”
On Tuesday morning, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with William and asked him to convey to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whom he met on Wednesday, “a message of peace.”
Rivlin asked the Duke: “I would like you….to send President Abbas a message of peace.”
‘”A message of peace that the time has come for us to find a way to build confidence as a first step toward the understanding that we have to end the tragedy between us and those around us for more than 120 years. God bless you. I would like you to send our best regards and best wishes to the Queen,” Rivlin said.
In response to the president’s comments, William said he was “hoping that peace in the area can be achieved.”
‘Very Moving Moment in Prince William’s Visit’
Commenting on Prince William’s visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that “we were very pleased to host Prince William on the first official royal visit to Israel by a member of the British royal family. We discussed many things: Our respective military service, helicopters, soccer and the World Cup.”
Netanyahu pointed to a “very moving moment in Prince William’s visit.”
He is the great-grandson of Princess Alice, who is buried in Jerusalem and who saved Greek Jews during the Holocaust. He met descendants of the family that she saved in Greece.
“She was there and protected a Jewish family from the Gestapo. We just met her descendants that met with him. I told him that he must be very proud of his great-grandmother for saving defenseless Jews. And as Prime Minister of Israel I am very proud that Jews are no longer defenseless. We have, thank God, an army to defend ourselves by ourselves,” he stated.
Prince William said that “her story is a matter of great pride for my whole family – and the gift I received today from you, Prime Minister, of a copy of the medal presented in her honor by Israel is something my family will treasure.”
Netanyahu presented William with a copy of the certificate bestowed upon his great-grandmother testifying to her role as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” for saving Jews during the Holocaust.
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